We had intended to head to the Batali/Bastianich restaurant Otto tonight, but a last-minute change in plans took us to yet another mediocre Italian restaurant. Le sigh. Where is the great Italian food in this town, I wonder?
Osteria Cotta is a wine bar and small plates place on the Upper West Side, on Amsterdam near 85th. Our table ordered bruschetta with various toppings, a cheese plate, a salumi plate, and various pizzas. The bruschette were smothered in topppings yet lacking of any noteworthy flavors: olive tapenade, roasted garlic, caponata with goat cheese… how dull. Though we are in the local tomato season here on the East Coast, the tomatoes on the bruschetta with tomatoes and burrata were both waxy and hard. For $3 for a slice of bread, they could at least chop up a campari tomato, which, while ubiquitous nowadays, would at least have a bit of flavor. The burrata was utterly devoid of nuance as well. I wonder if it was nothing more than a soft mozzarella in disguise? From the salumi plate I took a small piece of prosciutto, which was both dried on the ends and a bit salty for my tastes. I ordered a margherita pizza, which arrrived in a soggy mess. The tomato sauce was truly awful as well, reminiscent of Spaghetti-O’s! The dolcetto we ordered was tinny. The server, though efficient, rolled her eyes at us when one of our guests tried to be nice. What a waste of time, energy and calories. The place was full when we left around 8:30.
Thankfully, the conversations with colleagues were entertaining; I saw no reason to share my opinions at the table. A quick Google search of the place reveals nothing noteworthy, as expected. The photo here is grabbed from a negative review that a student from Columbia University had written in April of this year. Well, put, young man. I wish I had seen your review *before* agreeing to go there. With all the Italian places all over this town, I need to find some way to get to one that the Italophile foodies really like. Where are they, I wonder?